After going upmarket with the newly-turbocharged 2018 Mazda6, the Japanese automaker seemingly doesn't plan to stop climbing the industry ladder just yet.
Speaking to Australia's CarAdvice at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the brand's North American CEO, Masahiro Moro expressed interest in offering all-wheel drive in future Mazda3 and Mazda6 models in order to cater to the traction-obsessed, U.S. consumer. Moro also says that the only reason all-wheel drive isn't already offered is because of an incompatibility issue with the current layouts.
"I think we are not able to combine four-wheel drive and the 2.5-litre turbo. We have a layout issue with the sedans, that’s why a four-wheel drive isn’t deployed on the Mazda3 and 6 so far," said Moro. "But there is a huge demand, at least what I know is that in the east coast of the USA, 80 or 90 percent of premium sedans are sold with all-wheel drive." Moro adds, "Four-wheel drive becomes a premium queue for U.S. consumers and obviously I have asked our R&D department to think about how we can accommodate four-wheel drive capability in the future."
We did reach out to Mazda and a spokesperson told The Drive that while it will "continue to investigate how best to bring its vehicles to the U.S. market," there is nothing further to "share about the potential for future Mazda3 and Mazda6 vehicles to include an all-wheel-drive option" at this time.
If Moro's plans for Mazda's compact and midsize sedan come to fruition, Mazda would join Subaru in being the only automakers in the segment to send power to all four wheels. The next Mazda3 (and the next Mazda6, we'd wager) will be powered by the company's revolutionary, compression ignition SkyActiv-X engine that promises diesel-like torque and fuel efficiency. It'll be interesting to see how those efficiency gains pan out when or if all-wheel drive is thrown into the mix.